Spain Beats Ireland, at Yankee Stadium
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, JUNE 12- Soccer fans at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night had the rare opportunity to see the world’s #1 ranked national team, Spain, on the pitch of the iconic sports venue in the Bronx. “La Roja” faced off against the Republic of Ireland.
Spain has dominated its opponents on the soccer pitch in recent years. It has been undefeated in its last 21 matches. Spain has also shown its superiority in the most important tournaments in the recent past. It was the World Cup winner in 2010 and it was also victorious in the two most recent European championships, in 2008 and 2012.
Although the match on Tuesday was friendly and the teams were widely separated in reputation and talent, those factors did not mean that the play would not be spirited and the result unimportant to those on the pitch.
Neither side scored in the first 68 minutes, but Spain had control of the ball throughout most of that time. The initial goal was driven by Roberto Soldano with an assist by Álvaro Arbeola in the 69th minute.
It appeared that a goal by Sean St. Ledger tied the score in the 80th minute, but the joy of the fans of Ireland was cut short as the goal was nullified.
The final goal of the match came off the foot of Spanish striker Juan Mata in the 88th minute. He was assisted by Santi Cazorla. Interestingly, Mata scored for Chelsea in the most recent match at Yankee Stadium on May 25.
Ireland’s manager, Giovanni Trapattoni praised the quality of his team’s opponent, “Spain is the best in the world. They are superior technically. Spain is a complete team.” The manager feels his team will grow in the future by what they learned on the pitch on Tuesday, “For us…it was a very good lesson.”
Vicente Del Bosque, who has led “La Roja” through its recent international triumphs, explained the reasons for Spain’s excellence and closed by saying, “There’s many factors why we’ve had so much success. It’s not a coincidence.”
When asked to explain why both goals were scored by players who came off the bench, he replied, “It’s not about stars and reserves. All the players are stars on their clubs. We try to give equal minutes to all players.”
The experienced leader of the world’s best national team was pleased with the preparation his team received during the games in Florida and the Bronx for its next challenge, the Confederations Cup that begins on May 16 in Brazil, “I think we achieved what we came to do. No one got injured. Physically we’re better. There was a very high level of concentration. I think we are in very good shape for the 16th.”
Another good sized crowd, 39,368, came to Yankee Stadium to watch world class soccer, assuring the local aficionados of world football that there will be more matches contested on the pitch of great Bronx venue in the years to come.”
The atmosphere at the match was described by Trapattoni, “I played in Yankee Stadium many years ago. Yankee Stadium is legendary. This atmosphere is fantastic. “While the words were strong, the emotional fervor with which they were spoken was even stronger. ”
Soccer is alive in the Bronx!